News Release: Bill to De-License Reflexology on Agenda
Contact: Adam Weinberg
Phone: (402) 452-3737
Bill to De-License Reflexology on Agenda
Proposal Matches Laws in Most States
LINCOLN, NE – Nebraska state Sen. Dave Murman's Legislative Bill 347 now appears on the legislative debate agenda. While the Legislature reconvenes on Tuesday, January 21, the legislation may be debated on a later date this week if previous bills take more time on the floor.
LB347 exempts reflexologists from a current requirement that they hold a state-issued massage therapy license. Reflexologists are personal care practitioners who use their hands to apply pressure to a client's feet, hands, or outer ears. The Platte Institute testified in support of the licensing reform bill, and it was advanced from the Health and Human Services Committee in 2019 by a 7-0 vote.
Currently, reflexology can only be performed lawfully in Nebraska by licensed massage therapists. Nebraska has one of the country’s most time-consuming requirements for earning a massage therapy license, at 1,000 hours of classroom training. Most states require a range of 500 to 700 hours for massage therapy licensing, and exempt reflexology from their licensing requirement.
“Reflexology is exempt from massage laws in 32 states and the District of Columbia. There are 4 states that have no massage law, and reflexology is not regulated or licensed. Our neighbors, Colorado, Iowa, Missouri, and South Dakota exempt reflexology from massage law. Kansas and Wyoming do not have massage laws,” said Nicole Fox, Director of Government Relations at the Platte Institute.
“Out of the 1,000 required hours of massage training potential reflexologists are required to take, approximately 20-30 hours is dedicated to reflexology at most,” said Fox.
The Platte Institute first learned about Nebraska’s treatment of reflexology practitioners in 2016 when Connie Young, a certified but unlicensed reflexologist from Omaha, reached out to the Institute. Young practiced out of her home for years without incident, but then received a cease and desist order from the state Department of Health and Human Services after teaching a class on reflexology at a local massage therapy school.
Typically, cease and desist orders detail the criminal penalties unlicensed practitioners can face if they continue to work without a license. Young’s letter said she could receive a felony charge for continuing her reflexology practice.
“We can charge you with a felony for working with people’s feet and hands,” Young told the Lincoln Journal Star in 2016. “That just seemed crazy.”
Young temporarily moved her business to Council Bluffs, Iowa, which does not license reflexology, before relocating to Indiana.
In 2018, Platte Institute Policy Director Sarah Curry submitted an application for reflexology to be reviewed by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Credentialing Review process on behalf of reflexology practitioners. In an effort to determine whether medical professionals on the review panel deemed it necessary for the field to be licensed, Curry proposed in the application that reflexology be granted its own licensing requirement that reflected the industry training standards common among those solely practicing reflexology.
In a July 2018 report responding to the application, former DHHS Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tom Williams noted that he did not think licensing was necessary for reflexology.
“Given that Reflexology is arguably safely unregulated in most states, it is difficult to justify Nebraska holding possibly the most arduous Reflexology requirements in the United States…It is difficult to conceive of any treatment or approach more medically risk free than Reflexology,” wrote Dr. Williams.
To schedule an interview on this topic please contact Adam Weinberg at (402) 452-3737 or email@example.com.
The Platte Institute advances policies that remove barriers to growth and opportunity in Nebraska. More media resources are available at PlatteInstitute.org/Media. To learn more about the Platte Institute's work to reform job licensing in Nebraska, please visit PlatteInstitute.org/Jobs.